Sunday, October 19, 2014
CAN I MAKE A GIFT OF MONEY TO MY RELATIVES BEFORE FILING FOR DIVORCE?
QUESTION: Can I give money to my adult daughters as a gift and not have it be considered part of the marital assets or community property if I gift it before filing for divorce? Also, can I give money to my nieces or nephews for college and have it excluded or not included if it's given away before filing? I understand trying to hide or dispose of assets after filing isn't legal.
MY ANSWER: Your proposed "gifts", whether before or after the divorce is filed, will come back to haunt you in your divorce case. You have a fiduciary duty to your spouse during the marriage until all community assets are distributed pursuant to a divorce Judgment, to manage and preserve community assets for the benefit of the marital community. If you give any funds away, not only will you not have those funds available to share with your spouse, but the Court will order you to pay your spouse his/her community share of those funds, and may impose monetary sanctions on you [possibly in the amount of your community share as well as your spouse's community share] for intentionally disposing of community assets to deprive your spouse of his/her community share. Don't make the "gifts". You'll be made very sorry if you do.